This is the last post in series about the lessons my husband (NT) and I (aspie) have learned during the 25 years we’ve been married.
Learn how to recognize your partner’s expressions of love
Aspies and NTs speak completely different languages when it comes to expressions of love. You can either learn to translate your partner’s “love language” or you can spend the rest of your marriage wondering if this person you’re sleeping next to every night really, actually loves you.
How does this translation work? Like this:
The Scientist: “You don’t have to make my lunch every morning. I can pick something up in the cafeteria.”
Me: “I don’t mind. It only takes a few minutes and I know you’d rather have something healthy to eat. This way you don’t have to waste time waiting in line.”
The Scientist: “So you mean you make my lunch because you care about me, right?”
Accept that there are things you’ll never understand about your partner
No matter how long you live together or how much you love each other, there will be moments when you feel like your partner is the most incomprehensible person on Earth. The aspie and NT brains have key differences. The sooner you accept this, the less frustrated you’ll be when your partner does something that leaves you scratching your head.
There have been many times when The Scientist has given up on a conversation with the words, “I just don’t understand you.” It’s not that he isn’t trying. He’ll ask me lots of questions to try to zero in on an explanation for something I’ve done or said. He’ll wait semi-patiently while I sit mutely and stare off into the distance, unable to put words to what I’m feeling. He’ll repeat things back to me to see if he’s hearing me correctly. But no matter how many different ways I explain it, it still doesn’t make sense to him because we’re both starting from fundamentally different places.
This goes both ways. The day The Scientist told me that he feels something–a physical sensation of warmth was how he described it–when he says, “I love you” I was stunned. I tell him that I love him every day but I’ve never associated a physical feeling with those words.
I can logically understand what this physical feeling might be like, but I’ll probably never know exactly what he feels. By the same token, I can tell him that when I sit in a crowded restaurant, my brain is tracking the conversations at all of the tables within earshot, but I don’t think he can ever replicate that experience in his own head.
We can make educated guesses at what’s going on inside the head of our partner, but there will always be some experiences that we can’t truly understand.
Have realistic expectations but don’t stop trying to grow and improve your relationship.
When faced with the day-to-day challenges of an aspie-NT marriage, it would be easy for both partners to simply give up in frustration. I can think of plenty of times when walking away would have been easier and less painful than trying to work things out.
Balancing realistic expectations–by both partners–with a concerted effort to improve can be a relationship-saver. Realistic expectations go both ways. The NT partner shouldn’t expect the aspie partner to morph into a typical person overnight. (The Scientist says he wouldn’t want this even it were possible.)
By the same token, the aspie partner shouldn’t expect the NT partner to simply put up with an endless barrage of unchecked aspie behavior. Knowing what can be changed and what can be tolerated is essential.
The second part of this equation is one that might draw some heat from aspies. I’m a firm believer in trying to improve my ability to function in an NT world. Before anyone jumps down my throat about the potential evils of assimilating, let me explain.
The day I explained to my husband about my Asperger’s, one of the first things he said was, “I love you exactly the way you are.” I treasure that and I know it’s not something he said just to make me feel better. He means it. But I also know that I’m hard to live with. I find myself hard to live with at times. So when I say I want to improve my level of functioning, it’s because I want to struggle less on a daily basis and because I want the people around me–the people I love–to struggle less. It has nothing to do with conforming to the expectations of an NT world and everything to do with making life less stressful and more enjoyable for myself and my family.
118 thoughts on “Lessons from an Aspergers-NT Marriage (Part 4)”
Loved this! “But I also know that I’m hard to live with. I find myself hard to live with at times. So when I say I want to improve my level of functioning, it’s because I want to struggle less on a daily basis and because I want the people around me–the people I love–to struggle less.” I completely understand, appreciate and feel exactly the same way, it’s not about conforming, it’s about achieving a level of serenity. Me too!
Thank you! So glad this made sense to you. I’m always concerned that my efforts to make life a little easier on myself will come across here as trying to be “more NT” or something, which isn’t the case at all. If anything, since I’ve begun blogging, I’ve become more outwardly autistic and it’s very freeing.
I’m so glad to hear that! Being more “us” is always freeing, or so it seems to me. 🙂
I really liked this series and think there are a lot of lessons to be learnt for every marriage from your simple (to write if not achieve) points.
I think it boils down to: Communicate, share and compromise, accept limitations, and forgive each other.
I’m glad that your analysis has looked at ways both sides can improve their relationship rather than create unrealistic expectations of either one becoming a care-giver or the other becoming ‘normal’.
I’m glad you enjoyed the series. You summed it up very nicely! I tried to take a balanced approached because my husband and I have been most successful when we’ve each made some effort rather than expecting one or the other do all the changing.
“By the same token, the aspie partner shouldn’t expect the NT partner to simply put up with an endless barrage of unchecked aspie behavior. Knowing what can be changed and what can be tolerated is essential.”
I wasn’t diagnosed until in my 50’s and my marriage was headed for the rocks. Diagnosis was like turning on a light! Even during the ‘standard’? questions and interview, the nature of the questions opened a door to neurotypical behaviour that started my enlightenment about what in my behaviour was divergent.
For example, I had long hair from early teenage years, but it wasn’t a good look 🙂 It never occurred to me that the reason I had long hair was because I didn’t like getting my hair cut, not that I liked long hair. Almost immediately after being diagnosed, I cut my hair and have (happily) maintained a short cut since – it’s so much neater, more practical and easy to keep clean, even if it does tend to stick up a bit…
What was both illuminating and distressing was learning that I was a ‘Spoiler’ – that I would make things difficult just because I could. Out of all my traits, that upset me the most. I don’t want to ruin things for my loved-ones, I want to make life grand!
Luckily, I have the most amazing, tolerant, patient, kind and hard-working wife, who forgave me and helps me work through things without getting exasperated or grumpy.
And, I have a wise, brave and erudite blogger to refer to when I get stuck 🙂
I’ll admit that since finding I covered a lot of the Aspie areas, I’ve to a certain degree lessened trying to hide my less normal behaviors, like spinning on occasion or fiddling with my lips.
I’ve recently rediscovered spinning. 🙂
Spinning is easily one of my favorite things, whenever I see a merry go round I am the first on and the last off, on fair rides I love the spinning ones, and I will often spin my little brother around because it makes it so I can spin and it’ll look fine a.k.a. normal
Yesterday, my therapist suggested that I may have aspergers. My husband made a suggestion of it last year and I shut him down real quick.
We have been married for 22 years, but it seems that married life has gotten harder. I feel like I get so annoyed by everything lately. I had a surgery with anesthesia in December and I feel like it set me into a free fall. I became severely depressed. I feel annoyed by pretty much everything my husband does. I have withdrawn socially. Thinking about birthdays or holidays just gives me terrible anxiety. I just want to cry. Buying gifts for people is so overwhelming. I hate it.
If undiagnosed, can relationships get worse. How can I be a better person to my husband. I just feel like I am constantly aggravated and I don’t really have good feelings.
Jenni, I’m the quintessential ‘grumpy old man’ – everything those stupid people does annoys me!
I was diagnosed in my mid-50s, and believe me, life suddenly snapped into place.
My relationships are much better, my motivations, understood, my down days and unwillingness to engage, understood.
It gets a lot better when you understand why things work the way they do.
I like to rock from side to side…..its my comfort 🙂
I wiggle my foot and toes alot especially when nervous, it makes me feel better 🙂
I can’t sit completely still for any length of time. If asked to, i find myself scratching or pretending to be tapping to music (hoping noone notices if there is a break in the music that i haven’t stopped tapping) or chewing on my lip.
Thank you so much for your perspective and positive tips. I am trying so hard to make my relationship with my aspie bf work. This has given me hope 🙂
I’m glad you found it helpful. It’s a challenge but I know quite a few people who are making AS-NT relationships work so hang in there.
I’m in a same sex relationship with a lovely woman who has aspergers, and this is very helpful.
I’m glad you found it helpful. Looking back, I don’t think my wording is especially inclusive of same sex relationships so thank you for overlooking that flaw.
Thank you for your tips and positive feedback! I looked online and all I could really see was the challenges and hardships people were processing – I’m glad to see you putting life into your marriage and working through it! I’m trying to understand and take that approach with my aspie bf.
You’re welcome! So much of what’s available online is discouraging, but I know lots of autistic people in happy, functional relationships and marriages. It can be done! 🙂
Lovely, insightful piece very much appreciated by this NT wife. It neatly sums up the explosion of learning and transformation I’ve undertaken in this past year since serendipitously stumbling on the fact that I’m married to an Aspie man. You’ve done a wonderful job of being fair (one of the traits I most admire in my husband) and pragmatic (another) while opening a door to the “other side.” Thanks much for taking the time to spell out some invaluable things!
Thank you! I tried to paint a fair portrait of the challenges and strengths that both partners might have and how it’s possible to meet in the middle so your comment made me smile. So glad you enjoyed it!
I don’t know if I’m leaving this comment in the right place or not, but I hope you find and read it anyway! Thank you so much for writing this article. the thoughts of His Polyanna above echo my own. I did have one question, though, regarding this quote
“The day The Scientist told me that he feels something–a physical sensation of warmth was how he described it–when he says, “I love you” I was stunned. I tell him that I love him every day but I’ve never associated a physical feeling with those words.”
This type of revelation is exactly the kind of thing that’s so difficult for me to understand and relate to in my partner, so I wondered if maybe as a neutral 3rd party it would be OK to ask you what, if anything, you do feel a Emotionally when you say those words. Or maybe a better way to put that is to ask how you perceive the experience, since it’s not linked with the physical feeling like your husband’s. Anyway I know this thread is 4 years old so there’s probably not much of a chance you will see this comment, but if you do, I just want to say again how grateful I am to have found this article. It has helped immeasurably.
“The day The Scientist told me that he feels something–a physical sensation of warmth was how he described it–when he says, “I love you” I was stunned. I tell him that I love him every day but I’ve never associated a physical feeling with those words.”
I’ve been reading your site for the last few days as I am making the journey through late self-diagnosis and probably on towards official psychiatric assessment and diagnosis. As I move forward, and learn more, I find everything slotting into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle made of mirror fragments which as they become complete appear to reflect my life. The phrase ‘Are you me?’ keeps running through my mind. Although I am male and you are female Cynthia I recognise so many traits and realisations.
However your sentence quoted above is quintessence of open-mouthed horror-mixed-with-relief that suffuses my investigations. Like someone who has been raised forever thinking they are half-blind who one day discovers a resource which provides a set of clues; ‘Do you have a string around your neck you’ve always ignored?’, ‘Is there an indentation in the bridge of your nose that has always puzzled you?’, ‘Is there a small rectangular, soft-lined case on your person of which you have never understood the function?’; leading to the conclusion: you have lost your glasses, so it is with the understanding that I am not irreparably damaged but irrepressibly different.
I do love my partner. I enjoy her reaction when I echo those words back to her when she says them to me. Her reaction is ever greater when I say it unprompted. But no physical sensation accompanies it on the emotional level and *I was never aware that it did for her*. An actual *sensation* when she says those words? Flabbergasting. Like first realising that different people hear different tritones when subjected to the tritione paradox.
It’s great to hear that you’re finding the site helpful and are moving forward in your own journey of self-discovery. I know exactly what you mean about those kinds of realizations. More than once I was just stopped dead in my tracks to discover that the way I’m experiencing something is nothing at all like the way others experience it. It’s opened a lot of doors in my relationships and is making life easier, even if it’s still puzzling at times.
Thank you for letting me know that you’re reading and enjoying. 🙂
Thanks for this. My husband is very highfunctioning but I definitely see him in a lot of what you describe. It is wonderfully encouraging to know I’m not alone or crazy to be married to an Aspie. I googled ‘aspergers in marriage’ and this article was the first result. We have been married for 2 years and are on the beginning of a long journey, especially since he has attachment disorder as well. I really resonate with your husband’s comment that he loves you the way you are – I feel that way about my husband as well, and again, it is good to know that I’m not alone or crazy 🙂 thank you for putting this out there.
Thank you for letting me know you found it helpful! I told my husband about your comment and it made him happy. It’s been a hard journey but well worth it. We’ve finally reached the point where things are fairly well sorted out, which is nice. I hope you’ll be able to say the same in the not too distant future. 🙂
I have Aspergers- recently discovered- and I’m sure my husband does, as well, but he doesn’t agree. He is diagnosed with ADHD but also has extreme social anxiety, an inability to read others accurately, an inability to put himself in another’s shoes, difficulty w sarcasm and hints, he cares deeply for animals, social injustice and immediate family but doesn’t have any empathy or sympathy for anyone else.
When I try to explain my limitations or boundaries, he thinks I’m exaggerating or using it as a “crutch” to explain what he describes as me being controlling, critical and lazy. For instance, though i dont like to get overheated, I cannot stand a direct flow of cool air on me, so rolling down the window while driving or sleeping with a fan on is very uncomfortable. He suffers from always feeling overheated and needs the window down and the fan on. I sympathize with him, but he does not sympathize with me. I know he needs the cool air to avoid misery, but he does not make that connection about me. He doesn’t get that it makes me miserable- just seems to assume it “shouldn’t” bother me.
Is anyone else in an AS/AS marriage and do you find your weaknesses do not complement each other?
We both understand and are fine with each other’s need for alone time, sensory accommodation and executive function deficits (mostly- not for everything), and social impairment; but, we constantly misunderstand each other’s motivation, intention, caring for each other, etc. We get offended by each other and if either one has a melt-down, we take it as a personal assault instead of a personal limitation.
Well, his thinking that something shouldn’t bother you because it doesn’t bother him is classic AS-type thinking. Often I have to force myself to try to figure out how my husband might be seeing/feeling something different from me and why. Otherwise I’ll just blithely assume things and end up stomping all over his feelings.
The kind of physical/sensory opposites that you describe sound hard to overcome because sensory stuff is so visceral and impossible to ignore. I’ve run into some things that are very hard to negotiate a compromise to, but not anything that comes up on a daily basis like that. Hopefully someone else will see this and have a suggestion for you. The only thing I can think of to suggest is pointing out to your husband what you told me about how your sensitivity to moving air is like his sensitivity to heat, which he can’t simply ignore, but I’m not sure if that would work or if you’ve already tried it.
I don’t know how long you’ve been married, but I do know that the first 10 years of my marriage were quite difficult and it’s only recently (last 5 years or so) that my husband and I have really started to understand each other. Marriage can be a tremendous amount of work, especially when one or both partners are neurodivergent.
Really, the worst issues FOR ME are around me being “insensitive” or critical, as he perceives it, and him getting highly offended, or me going into social (including at home w family) overload and if he doesn’t let me go be alone upstairs then I lose it and explode- and he gets highly offended.
He has those same issues as me but I don’t generally get offended, unless he gets verbally abusive; however, I do let him go off if he’s on the edge, so it doesn’t usually go down that way.
I think the difference is I have studied and understand Aspergers symptoms/limitations while he hasn’t. I try to make allowances for us having symptoms, whereas he sees them as character flaws.
So in the end, I am “forgiving” his transgressions but he isn’t. Then when we tried counseling, all of my “bad” behavior was openly acknowledged but his wasn’t. The result: I looked like an ******* and he came out smelling like roses. Of course, themterapist didn’t understand Aspergers herself.
I cringed reading that first part because I know exactly what you mean. I hate that “what did I do know” feeling that comes from being inadvertently (and usually unintentionally) insensitive. It’s such a hard thing to navigate, especially if one partner isn’t acknowledging their role in it.
Hi. I realize this post is so old and so is your comment. My recommendation might help someone else though.
Trying to put someone else in your aspie world who doesn’t want to be there, won’t work.
Your husband is exhibiting behaviours that can show up in a multitude of disorders. The first thing that came to mind was narcissistic personality disorder, followed by the kinder and more likely diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
I am not saying that your husband has either disorder. He may genuinely just be unsympathetic or thoughtless. Those people do exist. What I am saying is that something that looks like food and smells like food, may not be food.
Don’t be quick to diagnose aspergers.
People with borderline personality disorder have social anxiety, they also ‘run hot’. They also will not care about your feelings during a meltdown. Unlike aspergers folks, people with bpd will resist help. While you’re wanting to understand yourself and be better understood, the bpd type is secretive and self destructive.
The good news is that they are, for the most part, genuinely loving and faithful. They’ll stick around. But you really have to continually do ‘take backs’ when your aspergers ‘speaks before you think’ and you have to be willing to put up with discomfort sometimes so that he can be comfortable because while you get overloaded and want to become a recluse to recharge, the bpd type gets uncomfortable in the form of a simmering rage. The tiniest thing will set them off when they get into a super uncomfortable zone and as an aspie. That explosion will wipe out your energy and confidence for days.
Reading your comment and I’m sitting here wondering how you got into my head so many yrs ago. My husband is an aspie I am adhd/bi-polar/overly emotional ect. It’s like he refuses to understand me and expects me to understand him. I’m starting to think maybe I am one too… I just don’t need alone time nor do I have a personal space bubble. I love touching (hugging/holding hands/snuggling)
Wow, I wish I had read this when married to my first husband. He found it exasperating when I would say or do something that he found embarrassing, or when I didn’t pick up what he or someone else was saying…or when I didn’t understand his feelings. He used to ask how someone so smart could be so stupid, and called me a retard. Not so my current one…he’s just like me 🙂
It sounds like husband 2.0 is a huge improvement! 🙂
I’m visiting your website for the first time. I’ve just read the whole series of your lessons about an aspie-NT marriage and I really loved it. I’m 21 and I think I might have AS, but I can’t diagnose it yet, because in my country it’s quite expensive, and so are a good psychotherapists. I don’t fit to an exact definition of an aspie, but there are some traits that make me think about it; it’s like I’ve somehow adapted to a NT world really well in some aspects, but not in every one. I’ve always had a problem with socializing, keeping up a conversation, being spontaneous, dealing with some daily chores etc. But on the other side, I really like physical contact (I hug a lot), I think I don’t have problems with communicating or telling other people’s feelings (but there might be problems I can’t see on my own). Anyway, the reason I found your marriage lessons so interesting, is because many of the described situations I can see in my own relationship. I have a great NT-boyfriend, we’re together for 9 months and we’ve been renting one room together for 8 months (we’re college students). Many people are suprised by the fact that we get on so well, even being with each other in the same room for 24h/day. Normally I love sitting alone in my room the whole day, but with him I feel so comfortable as if was really alone, but somehow completed. He knows about all of my weird habits, like organizing my stuff obsessively, always doing things the same way, putting things in the same place, not being able to socialize etc; I also have many irrational fears, that he “defends me” from, when I’m afraid (e.g. darkness, insects, spiders, loud noise). He tries to accept it all and make life easier for me, he really takes care of me like no one ever did. And I’m afraid he sometimes may feel unloved or loved to little, because I can’t show it enough. I mean, I can hug and say “I love you”, but I find it difficult to think about his needs, about what can I do for him to make him feel comfortable and loved, even though I really want to.
I’m surely gonna read everything on your blog. It’s great that you write about this kind of stuff, I find it very helpful. I’d be happy to hear your opinion or some piece of advice about my possible AS.
Also, I have scored 30 on the Autism Spectrum Quotient test, what indicates a possibility of AS.
Welcome! Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed this series. It was one of the first things I wrote when I started blogging and it’s still very dear to my heart because the whole marriage thing is a permanent work in progress.
It sounds like your boyfriend is a great match for you. I know what you mean when you say you’re concerned about whether he knows how you feel. Have you talked to him about your concerns? I think we’re often socialized (especially as girls/women) that we should be able to magically sense what other people need or want. That’s hard for the average person and even harder for people on the spectrum. There’s nothing wrong with telling him that you have difficultly anticipating what he’d like from you as a partner and asking him to help you figure out what kinds of things make him feel loved so you can do them. I know that sounds kind of un-romantic, but I bet just the fact that you’re asking will make him feel loved. My husband has learned that if he lets me know what he wants/needs, I’ll happily do it, but my ability to anticipate those things spontaneously is really hit or miss.
About whether you have AS, it sounds like you have a lot of AS traits. It looks a little different in everyone, so having or not having a certain trait is rarely a deal breaker. Have you taken the Aspie Quiz? It’s not “officially” accepted, but it seems like a more true measure of AS than the AQ.
Thank you for your advices. I took the Aspie Quiz twice today; at first it told me that I have aspie traits and neurotypical traits, but I left some questions unanswered (“don’t know” option), so I took it again, left only 2 don’t-knows and tried to be honest with myself that time. For instance, I had to recall some situations from a daily basis and admit that I don’t take critisism or corrections well and I don’t appreciate it at all, no matter how perfect and understanding I’d like to think I am. So, here it is – the second time I scored 130/200 for Aspie traits and 84/200 for NT traits. I saw your results and I must say, they are impressive 😉 My spiderweb is not so pretty as yours, but I’m quite satisfied. Although I spent a long time on answering and I didn’t like that some of the questions are not precise enough.
However, it suprised me that aspies tend to be obsessed with a potential partner. I always thought my fixations on guys I really liked is just a common thing among teenage girls 😉
As for my problem with doing nice things for my boyfriend, we already talked about it and I know a bit about what I can do for him, but I often miss the opportunity to do that. I just can’t think of someone’s needs on time and it make me seem selfish. Also I’m not good at coming up with romantic surprises. I know a couple where boy used a tape to make an “I love you” sign on the window for his girl, and I think it’s really sweet however unnecessary and I would never do that, because after a couple of months the tape left traces which are very hard to clean (GOD, I’m boring).
Sorry if I bother you too much! I don’t know whether that I write here so much is polite or not, but it feels so good to finally talk about this stuff with someone who understands.
I took the aspie quiz a few times too. 🙂 Actually, the more I learned about Aspergers, the easier the questions got to answer. A few them were confusing because I wasn’t sure what they were talking about or if I did a particular thing until I’d done some more background reading. A score of 130 is definitely more on the Aspie side than NT side. Also, there was a survey we did here a while back and quite a few people admitted to having had an obsession with another person, often more than once. It seems to especially happen with new friends or romantic interests and then kind of settle down after a while.
It’s so hard to do that spontaneous romantic stuff! I’m terrible at it. Sometimes I do things like make a project out of remembering to initiate some kind of physical affection at least twice a day for a week. That sounds awful when I type it here. And I know what you mean about the tape residue. 😀 It’s hard to be romantic and practical.
Comment as much as you like. I love hearing from readers and it’s no bother at all.
This is funny. I developed a ‘thing’ for a guy when I was like 12. It took me until I was 24 to do anything about it. Then I had crazy, overloaded ‘go away closer’ feelings for him to start with. I didn’t recognize the aspie trait. Long story short, married almost 4 years now.
He has a level of patience beyond belief.
What a fantastic post! This is going to help a lot of people with their relationships. Thank you!
Thank you! 🙂
Hi – I just wanted to say “what a well-written & interesting blog”. I’m really pleased for you & “The Scientist” that you have managed to negotiate your relationship to get to this point, so well done 🙂
I’m pretty sure my husband has aspergers or at least many aspie traits, although he won’t admit it openly as he is a perfectionist and sees it as being something wrong with him. We have 3 children, 2 officially diagnosed with high-functioning autism when they were 3/4 yrs old – they are now 17 & 19. I saw, many years ago, similar traits in my husband, although to a lesser degree.
Sadly, I am at the point where I feel there is too much water under the bridge now to repair our marriage & I just seem to be in limbo land. We function OK but I don’t trust him now & I know I have withdrawn emotionally from the relationship – I don’t think he truly appreciates this. He has been physically abusive in the past and still tries to be controlling and is often verbally abusive now. In the past, whenever we had a few weeks of happiness, and I thought our relationship was improving, he always sabotaged it by finding something insignifcant to criticise and creating an argument, which was very hurtful to me.
I know I don’t always respond correctly and, it’s one of the things that’s kept me in the relationship – I didn’t want to give up unless I felt I had done everything I could do from my side. I just feel now I have too many compromises and that perhaps he needs to find somebody who can understand him more. I know from my perspective that it would be a relief if he did this.
I’m sorry to end on such a negative note!
Thank you. Coping with AS when there isn’t a diagnosis can be hard for both partners. It sounds like it’s taken a big toll on your marriage. I’m so sorry to hear that.
Thank you for taking the time to reply! It really does help to share thoughts and feelings…I’m sure I’ll work something out 🙂
So sorry that things are so rough for you Karen! I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe sometimes we need to admit that we’ve tried everything we can think of, and the other person simply isn’t ready to see it. It hurts, I know. It sounds like you want to help him as much or even more than you want to help yourself. But it has to come from both sides. Being autistic is not an excuse for behaving badly, it’s only an explanation for being ignorant of your bad behaviour.
I’m not sure if this will help but it might be beneficial for you to go to couples’ counselling by yourself. You won’t be able to change him, but it may show that you are willing to do whatever it takes to work on your marriage, on your own if you have to. And maybe you’ll have to save your marriage by ending it and “giving up” (it’s not giving up when it’s making you feel this way). It really sounds like you’re already making allowances for his possible Aspie traits. Someone who specialises in relationship therapy for ASD couples might be able to help you find a path forwards instead of being stuck the way you are now.
Last note: only today I read this amazing account of an Aspie wife and her Aspie husband and their individual paths to diagnosis. It’s full of pain and sadness but it’s hopeful as well. http://signpostsblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/the-gift-that-is-diagnosis/
Thank you for your comprehensive reply! I’ve just read the blog above and am mulling over some of your suggestions 🙂
My sister-in-law was just diagnosed with Asperger’s and her announcement at the beginning of this week has caused my husband and I do both dive head first into figuring out if my husband, too, is an Aspie. He’s suspected it off and on for the past year (the suspicion first triggered by an autism-themed “Stay Happily Married” podcast that we both listen to). Throughout his life, he’s been diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, GI disorders (which I just read this week is an Aspie trait sometimes) etc. etc. We both took the AQ test and the Aspie Quiz. He scored a 170/200 on the Aspie Quiz and I scored a 61/200. So, needless to say, we’ve pretty much concluded that he’s an Aspie and I’m as neurotypical as you can get. We’re in our 5th year of marriage and have 2 little daughters with a third daughter due next month. It would be an understatement to say that our marriage has been hard… I relate somewhat to the post above me, apart from the fact that my husband is accepting of being an Aspie and we are pursuing getting a professional diagnosis.
I just wanted to say that it is so relieving to read your words that the first 10 years of your marriage were very hard and that it’s only been the last 5 years of your 25 that you’ve been better able to understand eachother. My husband and I are committed to eachother, even though a AS/NT union can be very lonely for the NT and emotionally exhausting pretty much every day. I take comfort in your words that it is possible to have a successful marriage. Thanks so much for putting your life and experiences out there. Here’s to hoping these strategies will save my own marriage!
I’m so glad you found this series and that it might be helpful to you. Having a diagnosis and knowing where some of the issues are coming from has been a huge help to me and my husband. A lot of what we struggled with turned out to be poor communication and misunderstandings. Marriage is hard in general and a “cross-cultural” marriage between NT and Aspie is even harder. It sounds like you’re very committed to making it work and that counts for a lot. Hang in there!
I thank you for sharing. I was married for 17 years and now, after 13 years being divorced (and alone, few friends, no romance), am trying to decide if I have Aspergers. Communication was a big problem and many of the examples were familiar. She was always guessing how I felt, asking, but never getting good answers. She finally gave up and moved on, and I didn’t know how to ask her to stay.
I’ll be seeing a doctor in month to get an official “yes” or “no.” The online screenings suggest Asperger traits, but I’m not “off the charts” into the Aspie column. In a way, I hope I am Aspie, since then I can at least partly attribute my short-comings to something theoreticaly beyond my control.
I’m sorry your marriage didn’t work out. It’s so hard to get past problems when you don’t have any idea why they’re occurring or where to start with doing something about them. I know exactly what you mean about wanting an explanation other than “because I’m bad at this”. Having a diagnosis has helped me feel less like a failure and more like there are concrete reasons for the things I do.
I’m 26 years old and think I have aspergers. My father might also have it which might be genetic. My issue at the moment is my career. I graduated with a masters in Occupational Therapy only to find out it’s the hardest job for me since I have to deal with everyone around me all the time (students, parents, teachers etc) and it’s taking a till on my anxiety. It’s bad. I feel so out of control at work.
To my asking, what kind of work do you do?
I hope to one day find someone who loves me for me as well ❤
There is a genetic component, so it makes sense that your father might have aspergers if you do (or vice versa).
I’m self-employed and right now I work at home, which is my dream situation. If you’re finding work difficult, it may be worth trying to get evaluated for an official diagnosis. Getting diagnosed could open the door to asking for accommodations at work, such as a quieter work area or specific ways of dealing with people at work. It can be difficult to get diagnosed, but for someone who needs accommodations to do their chosen career, it can be very helpful in the long run.
And I hope you find a life partner too. I know lots of aspies/autistic people who are happily married or partnered with someone, so don’t believe all the negativity that’s out there about relationships for people on the spectrum. We’re lovable too!
Have you considered finding another career centered around occupational therapy? Like teaching classes online. Writing articles/blog, or writing a book? Maybe specializing in a very esoteric branch with few but high paying clients.
Marcelle, many people with AS struggle in work where a lot of interaction is required. After accepting my diagnosis (not initially) I finally sat down with my boss. Thankfully, he knew more about me than I did. He took the time to read through the literature I provided. After a few days, he actually rearranged the office so I am now and have been for many years away from everyone else. This seemed to cure the issues I was having. With more distance away from others I found it much easier for positive interactions in shortened interludes. I also let everyone I work with know I have AS. Now that they all understand AS, they understand why I have no interest in things like company parties, social events after work and so forth. I think I actually have gone from hated throughout, to well liked.
How about getting a hospital job? Due to the acuity of the patients and risk for infection control, patients are seen bedside….that means you can only see one at a time. Since sessions are not scheduled, family is rarely present and communication is done via writing in the medical record. No multi tasking required and direct communication is only between you and the patient.
this series is so appropriate for all aspie/nt relationships, not just marriages! thank you. i hope my partner and his daughter will read it. my partner is undiagnosed, though we both suspect he is an aspie, while his 15 yo is diagnosed.
she is having a particularly rough time with a flare up of perseveration around germs right now, and it has been driving me mad. reading what you have written about your own perseverations has really helped me find compassion for her, thank you.
she wants to be a writer too, i hope she will read your blog. 🙂
I hadn’t thought of that, but thank you. There’s a very good chance that your partner is an aspie if his daughter is, since there seems to be a genetic component.
Perseveration is very hard to manage at times. I’m sure your compassion for her struggle with it will help her at least feel less self-conscious and stressed about it. If she reads the blog, I hope she likes it. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. 🙂
Hi! Thank you for your insights. I have a step-daughter and we both believe she is an Aspie but she is undiagnosed. Her dad has difficulties with accepting the idea of her having imperfections so she and I have worked on learning about this for ourselves. I’m wondering what you think about an aspect of her emotional make-up that she has talked about. She spends large amounts of time with fantasy/technology related activities when she is at home. I have talked to her about how it would benefit her to work on spending more time away from those activities and more time with family. She says she is afraid of a “void” is how she describes it. She feels that if she doesn’t have continuous outside stimulation, I.e. the computer, she will be overcome by this void. I am quite at a loss to understand if this is an Aspie trait. I am at the beginning part of my journey to understanding her. The books and articles I have read have not mentioned anyone with similar kinds of difficulty. It seems to me that this is more than perseverative thinking. The computer time could certainly be a fixation, but to do that to avoid something that even she knows is not real is quite a puzzle. She can only stand a span time of about 1 minute and becomes agitated and hurries back to her computer if not being engaged in some way. Any suggestions? Thanks much for any input.
Oh, yes, I get this! I don’t think I would use “void” to describe it, but I think I know exactly what she means. I think by void, she’s talking about a lack of sensory input. For example, when I’m done eating, I feel a strong need to get up from the table and do something else, whereas many people will linger at the table after the meal is done. If I don’t get up, I get antsy and nervous and very conscious of not doing anything. This is really hard to describe, actually. It’s a very specific, very strong feeling (like a compulsion, I guess) and none of those words is exactly what I want to say, but that’s as close as I can get.
My advice would be, find ways that you can have family time that are more engaging to your step-daughter. For example, playing games together, working on a project, doing a physical activity, etc. Or perhaps encourage her to use a stim toy or a fidget as an outlet/sensory stimulation during family time, to see if that helps her feel less fearful. Possibly none of those is interesting to her, but perhaps together you can find something that fits. Also, it’s important to acknowledge that her discomfort is a real thing and can be very intensely unpleasant. Even just doing that as a start may be a big comfort to her. Good luck with it! 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to write this. I found it very helpful to see things from an Aspie’s point of view- although everybody is different and i am in no way assuming my aspie husband has the same struggles. We have spent many passionate years together- whether it is passionately loving or hating each other!
However, we are finding the relationship quite hard at the moment. We have recently had a new baby and although we are extremely lucky and have a ‘good’ baby who very rarely cries, my husband’s struggles seemed to have magnified with the new demands placed upon him. We have developed a routine whereby, he and my son have ‘man’ time in the morning and this seems to be going well, however it is our connection that seems to have disappeared. During some recent arguements, he has said some extremely hurtful things. One being, he is only staying with me because we have a baby. Now everytime i see him lovingly spending time with our son and then is cold towards me both emotionally and physically (he is watching porn instead), i can’t help but question why we are together and whether it truly is because we have a baby. This makes me kind of resentful- something that i have never really been before.
I am hoping it is just a phase but my experience with him so far indicates that this is the way it will be. Feel a bit lonely at the moment and him reinforceing this emotion, by stating he needs more ‘alone time’ to recuperate doesn’t help. I have been understanding of this in the past and gone out with friends for the evening or simply gone upstairs although it is hard and near enough impossible now that i have a baby to carry around with me. Whilst he understands this to a degree, to be told consistently that you are impeding on someone’s space is not a happy feeling.
Any advice for how to cope now that there is a baby involved?
Having a new baby is hard on any relationship. It forces a couple to rearrange how they relate to each other and changes the family/household dynamics. It can take a while for everything to settle back down again, even in the best of situations. Have you considered relationship counseling? It sounds like you once had a relationship that you both valued and you both might benefit from the advice and guidance of a trained counselor as you move into this new stage of life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this 4 part piece. My husband was recently diagnosed with asperger’s, and reading your tips gives me a lot more confidence that we can find ways to navigate through the challenges in our relationship successfully. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog!
I’m so glad you found it helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. 🙂 Just the fact that you are seeking out information to improve your relationship is a great sign!
This list should be handed out to all in NT-AS relationships. I nodded through the whole thing and even got a little teary thinking about how some of these issues affect my relationship with my awesome AS hubby. Thanks for sharing some great advice
I’m so glad you found it helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know! 🙂
I absolutely love this post. Thank you for giving us hope. I am the NT in our marriage, and I must admit it has been an immense challenge. Especially since the birth of our children. I sent the link to my aspie husband, and he is very excited about your post as well. Some of the things you write about he has been trying to explain to me for years. I would love to read The Scientist’s perspective on the points you’ve mentioned.
Thank you! I’ve been trying to get my husband to write a guest post for a while now. Hopefully some day. 🙂
On my secret notebook there is a page, seriously, reminding me to hold his hand, stroke his back, tell him I love him every day. Not because I don’t love him, but because I do not intuitively remember and than he feels hurt. Often I do feel like Mr. Spock! Although I hug and cuddle and kiss my kids all the time, it does not come automatically in marriage. kids feel nice, men do not so much … But my checklist helps.
I even think my husband feels nice and I forget those little affectionate things at times. I’ve also realized that I stim on him a lot (rubbing his hair or the back of his hand or squeezing his biceps or wedging my feet under his leg on the couch) which he puts up with in a surprisingly accommodating way.
That is sooo cute! for me, love is sitting together and talking and agreeing on the facts … like I remember everything I ever read or learned anywhere, cross referencing it in my head with every other piece of information continuously. So I will always know if something is actually a fact or not and where your sources are. I feel most loved in a stimulating conversation about facts whether it be volcanoes, languages, infrastructure of third world countries, you name it. … I have learned that others do not get the same fuzzy warm goosebumpy satisfaction out of it …
Thank you so much for writing this! I am the NT in our marriage(even though I must admit I don’t see myself as “typical” in any way!) and this was so very eye opening. My husband is moderately affected and still learning what his “quirks” are and how to deal with them, and our 4 year old daughter was just recently diagnosed with autism. It is refreshing to see you be so accepting of your “quirks” and understanding of how they effect the people who love you!
It sounds like your family in on the right track – learning how to cope with our differences can be challenging at times, but having a supportive spouse makes a big difference. 🙂
Just wanted to say that my (nt) husband and I have been having communication problems as of late. And while we are working on it. I suck at number 2. But reading this was like having a Me-from-the-future scolding me. Which was amusing and eye opening. I may read this after every fight until it sinks into my stubborn skull. Thanks!
From the future (ha! I like that idea), I can say that it’s definitely possible to get better at it. Our relationship has changed a lot since I wrote this post and started working on some of the things I talked about here.
Great advice! I really enjoyed reading it and many things resonate in me. I only recently figured out that may be my own condition, an Aspie and it was the most freeing thing ever. I loved your last sentence about not trying to confirm to an NT world but just trying to decrease the stress for you and your loved ones. I just emailed it to my husband so he can see there are many out there like us. We have been married for 29 years and have had a lot of issues but survived them all possibly because my husband is really nice and tolerant. Also culturally we have a sense of commitment and I think that’s what has helped us weather many storms. Thank you so much and please continue your advice.
Congratulations on 29 years! It sounds like both of you are really committed to making your relationship work. It’s great to hear from someone else who has a happy apsie-NT marriage and is feeling good about it. 🙂
Wow! This is fantastic. I hope you’re making some sort of revenue off this, because this is the first good, pragmatic, non-obvious advice I’ve come across for AS/NT couples. I’ve had a hunch for the year we’ve known each other that my boyfriend is high on the spectrum, but not til today did I sit down with the actual diagnostic criteria and realize, ‘holy crap, this describes him perfectly’ (and when I showed the DSM criteria to him, his response was ‘Oh dear, that does sound like me’). As his case is mild and we are long-distance most of the time, the fights aren’t extremely frequent, but they can be intense and are way more frequent than in any past relationship of mine. When I finally put it together, it felt like a relationship death sentence, since it wasn’t just him being an “immature, inconsiderate jerk”, which many people grow out of. Instead it was a “condition”, and moreover, a nigh-untreatable condition, as I gathered from surface research. However, this series on your blog gives me a lot of hope. Your advice is applicable to the vast majority of difficulties we’ve experienced, and it’s an excellent roadmap for novices to Aspergers territory. As an NT, I’m quite curious about your husband’s perspective and strategies… does he write as well?
AS does make relationships more challenging but with some effort and planning and compromise, I think most of the issues can be worked around. My husband and I have made a tremendous amount of progress in the nearly two years since I wrote this series. I hope you and boyfriend are able to find ways to communicate and work through things now that you know the source of his difficulties.
My husband hasn’t written anything about our relationship yet, though I’m still trying to talk him into it. 🙂
I have a daughter that not only I but her sisters have independently concluded is an ‘aspie’ so I am somewhat familiar with the relationship. However it is a bit more challenging when it is your significant other. I have been with my fiancée for 5.5 years now. He told me that a psychologist once told him he was “socially retarded” or something. I had the feeling he had AS within the first few months of our relationship. I have never said anything to him. He is very high functioning and at 69 he has learned a lot to help him along in social situations. Our relationship can be challenging but your writings have really helped put things in perspective and keep me from taking his behaviors so personally. Thank you.
I’m glad you’ve found the posts helpful. I think one of the hardest things for husband to understand was that it really isn’t personal. Since we got over that hump, things have been much better.
Thank you very much for writing this. My wife is just being tested for AS and everything I have read is about an AS man, NT woman, and so much negative. So nice to see something that better reflects me and our relationship. The biggest thing for me is knowing she might start to say sorry. Every time she upsets me and I point it out it is argued and rationalised until she “proves” I am wrong, or shows she didn’t mean it, so won’t say sorry as it would not make sense, or gets me so annoyed I say something bad and say sorry, which then means I am the one in the wrong, and in her black and white world that means she is in the right. This gives me hope that after the confirmation of diagnosis (which I am sure of with her getting 38/40 on the AQ and other stuff) that she will start to work on these things. I love my wife to bits but she can be so frustrating. She has at least managed, with my help, to get meltdowns to hiding in the bedroom for a few hours rather than running off.
Thank you for letting me know it was helpful. One of my original reasons for writing this series was my frustration at only being able to find aspie husband-NT wife stories when I was first searching for relationship advice.
Absolutely the best blog I have ever read about US and them. I decided not to read anyone else’s response until I posted my own, So sorry if I repeat what others have already said. Our marriage is in its 34th year, me the husband was diagnosed about 10 years ago, but the first 2 years were with me in denial of having AS. I am sending the link to my wife as I am sure she will enjoy the similarities of our relationships. I found your information very accurate, well thought out, on point, and should help many people. However, I also couldn’t stop laughing at certain parts also due to our mutual quirkiness, something I doubt NT’s easily relate with. We are very capable of laughing at ourselves and our unusual behaviors, something it took me years to do. In our relationship, I still wonder why she puts up with me. The part I found most interesting was how we do substitute for each other especially in social settings. People that are close to me and know what I live with would say I am very funny. However, 99% of the people that know of me would say I have zero personality. My wife is a social butterfly and talks to everyone even strangers. Please keep posting!
lots of thanks,
Thank you for the kind comment. It’s always great to hear that people can strongly relate to a post and like it enough to pass it along to a partner or family member. Your wife sounds a lot like my husband, personality-wise. Opposites definitely attract!
Thank you! I think you might have saved my marriage, you and The Scientist are amazing.
You’re welcome! What a lovely comment on a Friday afternoon. 🙂
Thank you for this blog. And thank you for the opportunity to share. I’m a NT married to a suspected Aspie.
I became aware my wife might be Aspie when her grandson was diagnosed. I see strong indications of it in her daughter and brother. The more I read about it the more i’m convinced she is. Will she get diagnosed? I doubt it. She is a perfectionist and externalizes all problems as being caused by someone else. We tried marriage counseling about 15 years ago and she said that since I didn’t change there is no use ever going again. We’ve been married 24 years and there was just something that always seemed “off” about how our relationship worked. I like to discuss differences, do the pro and con thing but those discussions have always seemed “argumentative” and a “waste of time” to her. So, I try not to discuss, anymore. But that is un-fulfilling for me.
My wife is a passionate, sexy, beautiful, organized, detail oriented woman. We have worked together in our business nearly 24//7 for over 20 years. Her assets far out weigh her liabilities and I am totally in love with her. Her aspie traits are extreme sensitivity to touch, sounds, smells and inferred slights from other people. She is a black and white person who has difficulty catching the nuances of meanings in subtle conversation (she’s good about asking me what they really mean) I have had to make a lot of changes to accommodate her sensitivities.
For the first 10 years of marriage our sex relationship was astounding. She always initiated sex and I was thrilled to participate. But the last 5 years sex has dropped off, precipitously. If I ask for sex she gets weird and says I say nice things to her just to get her into bed. I feel trapped wanting to have sex but feeling like a creep for wanting it and afraid of her rejection so we have sex about once in 3 months, maybe. We are in our 60s so that may have something to do with this part.
I look forward to seeing more on this blog and the replies.
I am twenty one years old and was diagnosed when I was sixteen. I want to thank you for writing this because it give me a sense of hope that I can have a successful relationship one day. Thank you for all of the insight and the encouragement you put into this article. I happen to think (from my perspective) that Aspergers is simply a different way of seeing and feeling things. Knowing that there is someone out there who goes through a similar thing and is as successful at relationships as I hope to one day be is very encouraging, thank you.
You’re welcome! It’s most definitely possible to have a successful, loving, fun, passionate, fulfilling relationship when you’re on the spectrum. I know quite a few aspies who are in happy long-term relationships, so it’s not like I’m a freak of nature. 🙂
Thank you for your posts, which I have only just found. I am a very late Aspie diagnosis (high-functioning) although always aware that I was different. My second wife made the connection, and although we went to counselling, I felt as though I was always expected (actually I was always told) to change as the world is 90+% non-Aspie, so it is my responsibility to learn to live in that world. Our marriage ended, but we worked hard to make sure that our extended family functions. My children and her children, and partners and grandchildren all get on well, with regular family dinners, and assistance to each other.
It would have been good to have known the strategies from your blog a few years ago when life was rough, but your post is still valuable, as I have met someone who is aware of my Aspie-ness. We enjoy each other’s company and I am hopeful for the future.
Thank you for your perspective.
You’re very welcome. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had such a rough time with relationships. It’s good that you and your ex-wife have been able to find a way to keep your extended family together and that you’re feeling hopeful about the future. It’s never to late to learn about ourselves and make adjustments. Best of luck with the new relationship! 🙂
That was beautiful. My favorite part was the ending.
Thank you. 🙂
My husband (aspie) and I (NT) are in our 13th year of marriage and I was so delighted to read your 4-part post. You summarized so many critical issues and concepts so beautifully–everything you said rang true for me. I’m going to share your posts with my husband in hopes that it will reassure him that we’re not alone. I’m fairly comfortable with our “unconventional” solutions (he only attends the important events with me too, and we have set aside separate spaces in our house–a place for him to be himself and a place for me to have a break from Aspergers), but he struggles with breaking from what’s “normally” done. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Best wishes.
Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the series. I hope your husband finds it helpful. It is hard to be “not normal” but I think my husband and I have increasingly made our peace with it these past couple of years.
Best of luck to both of you – it sounds like you’re a terrific partner for your husband.
This is exactly what I was looking for! I myself live with AS, my wife is a saint for dealing with me, but I have noticed my actions are causing a strain on her, thanks for the advice i plan on using them to help my marriage!
Thanks for letting me know that you found it helpful. It can be hard to find the right balance in a relationship but hopefully some of what has worked for my husband and I will make a good starting point for you and your wife.
Just found your blog. It is awesome. I am an aspie wife married to an NT. We have been together over 12 years. The things you say are spot on. We were married for 10 years before I got a diagnosis. After the diagnosis we have gotten stronger in our marriage. So I guess I just wanted to let you know, there are others out in the world. I’m going to keep reading your blog.
So happy to hear you’re finding it helpful! Thank you for sharing your experience and letting me know you’ve been reading.
I stumbled into your article just today after my NT husband and I went round and round yet again on communication issues. Very well done. Thank you for posting; this should be read by every full-spectrum couple.
I spent all night trying to find a positive aspie/NT relationship article! Finally, my aspie girlfriend showed me this one. Thank you so much for sharing this. We just read it together and it was amazing. Everything rang true. It is a struggle, but I can only hope we make it 25 years like you and your husband.
Thank you so much, again. If you write any other articles or blogs, please contact me at my email, firstname.lastname@example.org, as I would love to read them.
Hello I have stumbled on your post and I do really like it. Well I just happen to know someone with Aspergers and right now we are starting to like one another. We met from an online dating site, and for almost a month we are in the habit of chatting, talking and skyping one another. We are becoming closer and closer as days passed by because we almost shared most of the important things that happened, the happiest, saddest, and all other fun or sad things that we do, we had and we are doing in our lives. He said that he loves me, but for me at this point in time, not really sure what I really feel for him. I like him so much and I don’t want to lose him, yet a big part of me is not yet ready for commitment, considering that I have so little idea with his condition and how consistent he would be with his feelings for me. I’m holding back because I don’t want to get hurt, because what if one day his feelings changed and he becomes cold to me. Do Aspies really meant what they say from what they feel? Do they keep their promises too, he promised that he will wait for me. And another thing that I have noticed, he seems a little laid back, with no dreams in life, with no desire of improving his self. He said that he is receiving some financial support from the government and he has a low paying job from a grocery store in their area, and he is studying to become a pastor. And I’m encouraging him that it will be better if he knows something other than preaching, I’m not saying that being a pastor is bad career or what, but what I really like to point out is that, it is better that he has a stable job other than that, that will support him and the family that he is going to have someday. I’m encouraging him to think about another interests to study or get involved with that will be beneficial someday, like things in mechanics, carpentry, gardening, engineering and other stuff he thinks he has interest of. And I want to know if ever, encouraging him to do these things will be good for him, or I just let him be that way? Because he told me that he really likes to marry me, and I told him that he should be financially stable to ask me that, and he said that he will think about it, and try to do his best to think of another course to study or get enrolled with in college. So, will there be any hope that he will take my advice and do it?
And anyway, I’m not closing my door to him, I really want him to become a better person someday, stable and secured, may it be me or other woman someday, because I just feel that he deserves it, to have a happy life and to be loved by someone.
This made me tear up… you seem amazing! I’m currently crazy about my smart, loving AS boyfriend, but I’ve been feeling so discouraged after initially researching AS-NT relationships. Your posts are incredible, and you are such a clear and talented writer :). Sending endless love to you and your husband!
Thoroughly enjoyed reading through the 12 points, and could relate in part to almost all of them. I have been with my aspie partner for 6 years now and we have two beautiful children together, we have recently been told that my partner is an aspie, (which we kind of knew already), and for me it is invaluable to be able to read a succesful / time experienced coping strategy, Thank you for sharing
I wanted to thank you for writing about your experiences. Your insights on the 12 points and the examples you’ve given with those points are extremely helpful. My (gf and i, think aspergers)-girlfriend has pointed out some of the points/struggles you’ve listed and I, as an NT-person, couldnt fully grasp or know how to address or solve in out relationship. But your article has provided more insight and clarity to some struggles we have in our relationship that i couldnt interpolate. We will definitely take into consideration some tools/tricks you have used in your marriage.
I greatly appreciate the time you took out to write this article.
(I normally don’t respond to blogs/articles, but this piece has provided me with lots of insight into a aspergers-NT relationship)
Thank you so much for coming out with these experiences and all that you have learned. Reading it adds fuel to the hope that i have for my marriage. Both my husband and my daughter are Aspies, and my son and I are NT. You’ve given me even more insight. Thanks.
I agree with what many have commented here…it’s so great to read positive and helpful messages about AS/NT relationships! There is so much negative information out there.
I have been dating an AS man for about a year and a half and he is truly the most interesting and fun person I have ever met. I really want to spend more time with him and see where this can go, but things are becoming strained between us. I think we have reached the place where we need to have more communication about each others needs.
I have read a bit about AS and done enough personal work to keep from taking most things personally, which helps a lot. And he is trying to be accommodating and listens to the things I ask for and I appreciate his efforts. I really do like him for who he is…I think his brain is magical!
Thank you for these writings and insights. I hope to keep working on our relationship! As challenging as it can be at times, it also has a certain freedom I’ve never experienced in relationship.
Thank you so much! This was so helpful and recognizable. I am not saying my wife has full-blown aspergers (she hates being pigeon holed…) but if I just deal with her according to these and other guide rules things go so much smoother…. 😉 , which is good for both of us and who cares about classifications in the end? What I often find hardest is to make the distinction whether a certain reaction or conflict has to do with perceptual differences or just personality or the moment, they are clearly not the same and shouldn’t be dealt with in the same way. Anger and frustration seem to be prevalent and it took me much effort to understand that it is not that I am doing something wrong but more that some words or actions are really perceived completely different by her. It takes so much effort to understand and anticipate this, but I guess it’s the only way to be just with each other. Texts like this blog certainly help a lot, there doesn’t seem to be much information (even with professionals) about the female side of aspergers. It appears to me that many people with this problem have had so much negative feedback on their behavior in their live leading to negative reflexes and that the only way to deal with it is giving true attention and acceptance. Not that I said it’s always easy 😉
Hi Fantastic insight to aspies and relationships – more please.
Im just coming to terms, as many of you are, with aspyrgers a word my dyslexic mind cant even spell so forgive the typos and grammar.
As with my dyslexia im having fun exploring the abilities and work arounds for the disabling aspects – someone once asked if i could be cured would i take it – heck no why focus on the negatives when its much more fun to focus on the positives – these attributes make me unique and very good at what i do, more happy than sad and more money than if i was nuro typical – so i dont want to loose this or ever gamble on the risk of just being normal – an illusive concept which no one can achieve.
This article will really help my nuro normal, and lovely and very social perfect partner – K (my partner) scores 5 in the aspie test, where as i score 40. She works with disadvantagedHi Fantastic insight to aspies and relationships – more please.
Im just coming to terms as many of you are with aspyrgers a word my dyslexic mind cant even spell.
As with my dyslexia im having fun exploring the abilities and work arounds for the disabling aspects – why focus on the negatives when its much more fun to focus on the positives.
This article will really help my nuro normal, and lovely and very social adept partner – K scores 5 in the aspie test, where as i score 40. She works with disadvantaged but lovely
families and i work with technical consultancy problems.
We bash heads and lock horns frequently and K can be a crescendo of annoyance to with every electrical appliance running, with the kids running riot and moving my stuff or the house around to my asipes need to quite alone time and static systems eg please dont move or touch my stuff – ever, period, no exceptions – but K will turn the house around and constantly tidy my things away.
We still work – not always though but we do after both coming out some very abusive relationships we work and mesh together very well – more so with the kids too.
Being aspie is a bit like my directions – i assume automatically the other person know where im going and how to get there. i get frustrated or melt down if they dont or mess up. I dont understand why they are hurt buy my sometimes savage rebuff in my partners words which dosent have the same if any meaning or impact to me.
I am hard work – very hard work at times so I get everything in the article but i work hard to get the right mix – my partner has endless tolerance well most of the time but when she is not happy i now get it and its time for me to reflect and apologies.
When K is mad At me She has this cute frown, then wrinkles her nose and i call these frimples as she alway cracks a smile as cute dimples – it works and gets me off the hook – mostly.
My kids (my oldest son also autistic, adopted daughter and youngest son) are great and know instinctively when i need some space if im overloaded or a hug if im down or stressing over something. They all know just to ask me when they need their space or attention or a hug in return – no matter what were doing its always time out for a hug or even a collective family hug with the little one squished in the middle. K use to drive me nuts with her constant need to touch or stroke me and be hurt at my recoil or complain when i was too rough or annoying in return but again we click and have a balance – mostly.
So after reading the article series ive pined the link with the post to K and expect a Frimple and a family hug in the morning.
Main thing is be comfortable in your self first, make a good choice in partner to match you and their needs, develop abilities to work around the problems and be open to partners, kids, families, friends and colleges. If the latter aren’t tolerable or understanding then don’t be scared to move on to those who are or at least constructive.
Mostly look at all the wonderful positives being an aspie give you and everyone you know.
Happy new year everyone.
Steve & Family
Thank you so much for this great series! I was dignosed with really high functioning Aspergers in late primary school so have known for a while. I have been with my hubby now for 7 years (married 5 in a few weeks) and we are struggling. Its only been in the last few months of trying to improve it that i have relized how much impact it has had in our as/nt relationship. He just dosent understand my quirks and seems to not take the aspie thing seriously. I can totally relate to alot of what you said in here and think that better understanding on his side as well as better comunication could really help. Can you recomend some articals that i could give to my NT hubby to read? Im looking foward to teading theough all your other posts. There is so much negitivity surrounding aspie relationships and parenting. Your blog has helped me in not feeling so alone and feeling more positive in my abillity to help my marrage and raise my daughter right. ❤️
I am an NT husband married to a wonderful aspie wife who cares dearly for people but does not come across that way at times. It has been a roller coaster the past 17 years of marriage with constant ups and downs. I love her dearly and wish to understand her and do right by her but often do not. I am on this site to learn more about her and how I can communicate to her in a better fashion. Words are cheap for her I can tell her I love her till I am blue in the face but she does not feel my words. It is hard to connect often and the times that we are disconnected is tough to deal with. Anyone in the same boat as me please give me any feed back you have.
Hi John – I too am married to a crazy wonderful aspie wife. We have been married for 16 years and it has been really tough at times but the high moments have been bliss. Our relationship has been a rollercoaster. She loves her alone time and struggles with social situations to the point of horrendous anxiety, yet when in the social environment she is incredibly charming. She has no real close friends and seems to like it that way and I find myself with an ever shrinking group of friends due to avoiding social situations because of her anxiety. She finds giving attention to me an exhausting process which at times can get to the point of no physical contact for months. It is extremely frustrating especially when she cringes at my touch. It seems I have to have the same conversation every few months to tell her I am unhappy with the situation of neglect and that seems to change her ways for a while and we then have some fantastic couple time. But alas it fades and she goes back to her ways and says that ‘person’ she was for that brief moment of time is not really her, that she is simply trying hard to be the person that she is expected to be and that is exhausting for her. I love her dearly and live for these few closer moments that we have but it is so exhausting to live with her. We have 4 kids and both work and I find she is increasingly frustrated recently of having less alone time due to work and kids and so our relationship has been suffering more. She does a lot of things for me (her way of showing love) and she is very intelligent and I enjoy our conversations about books and movies and world events, I also am very attracted to her physically, so I find that I crave her attention a lot although I am often left feeling sorry for myself due to rejection. I often discuss with her about finding common mutual ground where we both try to understand each other and give a little for the sake of our relationship but I feel it is often me that is giving more. I have often thought about leaving but I still love her very much. I feel I am to suffer with misery either way sometimes as I can’t live with or without her. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night after one of her cold rebuttals that I need to just accept her the way she is. Unfortunately I find that she has most of the power in the relationship and that I have become a grovelling fool for her attention. I worry a lot about our future lives together especially after the kids have grown up and there is just the two of us.
Hi, I’m a bit late to the party (about 5 years it seems) but this post is extremely interesting. My partner of 10 years has just been diagnosed so I am doing as much research as I can and your blog is a goldmine. All of a sudden so many things click into place…
I wanted to ask you (since my husband is still reeling and not really open to deep conversations right now)… how do you feel love? Is there any way you can describe it…? I know it’s a tough question. But you explained how The Scientist’s physical description was so different from how you experience love. It reminds me of the way some people ask themselves ‘does everyone see the colour yellow the same way I do?’ It seemed like such a given to me that everyone feels love as that warm fuzzy kind of feeling… But obviously I was wrong! This might explain why I sometimes feel like my husband doesn’t love me because I can’t feel the ‘warm fuzzy vibes’ emanating from him to me, even though he says he does love me. I am so incredibly curious to find out what that means to him. I will be sure to ask him himself as soon as he is approachable again but in the meantime maybe you can describe what it feels like for you…? (Of course that doesn’t mean that he feels it the same way because everyone is different but I’m still curious).
In any case thank you so much for writing this blog, it’s a tremendous help and it is making me feel like I’m not going crazy after all. That’s worth a lot. So thanks again.
Thanks for your blog series about relationships, it has been quite helpful for me! Especially needing so much alone time is not easy, when you are living together… I need a lot of that too. But talking about it, finding ways to deal with it, well, it is working out in the end…. 🙂